Of­fi­cials, Trump say Jersey stay is work­ing trip, not va­ca­tion.

White House get­ting heat­ing, cool­ing up­grades

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE BOYER ● An­drew Blake contributed to this re­port.

Pres­i­dent Trump is not — re­peat not — on va­ca­tion.

He’s just spend­ing the next two weeks at his posh golf re­sort in New Jersey while the White House, which is not — re­peat not — a dump, un­der­goes ma­jor ren­o­va­tions.

After fre­quently crit­i­ciz­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama for his golf va­ca­tions, Mr. Trump de­camped Wash­ing­ton on Fri­day for a 17-day stay at his Trump Na­tional Golf Club in Bed­min­ster, New Jersey.

Per­haps mind­ful that his crit­ics were ac­cus­ing him of hypocrisy, Mr. Trump took to Twit­ter on Satur­day evening to de­fend the move.

“Work­ing in Bed­min­ster, N.J., as long planned con­struc­tion is be­ing done at the White House. This is not a va­ca­tion — meet­ings and calls!” the pres­i­dent tweeted.

White House aides have called it a “work­ing va­ca­tion,” which sounds a lot like the ex­pla­na­tion Mr. Obama’s aides used to give: that the pres­i­dency trav­els with the man, even at a golf course or a rented beach­front house in Hawaii.

In ad­di­tion to hold­ing pol­icy meet­ings at Bed­min­ster, Mr. Trump is ex­pected to make day trips to other states to pro­mote his agenda.

Ren­o­va­tors didn’t waste any time over­haul­ing the West Wing once Mr. Trump de­parted the White House. Work be­gan hardly an hour after Mr. Trump boarded Air Force One en route to Bed­min­ster, said White House so­cial me­dia man­ager Dan Scavino.

Mr. Scavino tweeted a pic­ture of the Oval Of­fice be­ing emp­tied of fur­ni­ture and of­fice equip­ment, in­clud­ing a pho­to­graph of the White House’s his­toric Res­o­lute desk be­ing re­moved for ren­o­va­tion.

The ren­o­va­tions in­clude up­grades to the fa­cil­ity’s 27-year-old air-con­di­tion­ing and heat­ing sys­tems, as well as the in­stal­la­tion of new wiring, paint and car­pets.

“Due to the 24/7, 365-day use a year, the es­ti­mated age of the sys­tem based off of us­age is 81 years old,” deputy press sec­re­tary Lind­say Wal­ters told re­porters. “I doubt that you would want to come to work on a hot sum­mer day when the air-con­di­tion­ing wasn’t work­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to the HVAC work, other struc­tural re­pairs in­clude fix­ing a ceil­ing leak, re­pair­ing the steps to the South Por­tico on the South Lawn to help erad­i­cate a per­sis­tent prob­lem with house flies, and ren­o­vat­ing the Navy Mess kitchen. Work­ers will also give a makeover to the West Wing lower lobby, in­clud­ing fresh paint, new car­pet and cur­tains.

The ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tions be­gan just a few days after Mr. Trump re­futed a re­port that he had told golf­ing bud­dies the White House is “a dump.”

Mr. Trump has said he doesn’t like va­ca­tions, and that if you truly en­joy your job, you don’t need time off. But two weeks at a fancy golf re­sort is the kind of po­lit­i­cal op­tics over which Mr. Trump used to de­light in pok­ing fun at Mr. Obama.

“@Barack­obama played golf yes­ter­day. Now he heads to a 10 day va­ca­tion in Martha’s Vine­yard. Nice work ethic,” Mr. Trump taunted his pre­de­ces­sor on Twit­ter in 2011.

He also asked, “Why is @Barack­Obama al­ways cam­paign­ing or on va­ca­tion?”

In 2015, Mr. Trump said he didn’t think he would take much va­ca­tion time as pres­i­dent.

“I would rarely leave the White House be­cause there’s so much work to be done,” Mr. Trump said. “I would not be a pres­i­dent who took va­ca­tions. I would not be a pres­i­dent that takes time off. You don’t have time to take time off.”

Since his in­au­gu­ra­tion, Mr. Trump has spent about 30 per­cent of his days away from the White House, pri­mar­ily at his re­sort prop­er­ties in Palm Beach, Florida, and in New Jersey.

Wal­ter Shaub, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Gov­ern­ment Ethics who clashed with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, said the pres­i­dent’s trip to his name­brand re­sort in New Jersey “is not a va­ca­tion.”

“This is a mar­ket­ing blitz. Lob­by­ists & for­eign govts should watch to see if HSN live broad­casts any cheap deals on in­flu­ence,” Mr. Shaub tweeted.

Pres­i­dents typ­i­cally take time off in Au­gust, when Congress is in re­cess. Mr. Obama and Bill Clin­ton fa­vored va­ca­tions of two weeks or more at the high-rent sum­mer play­ground of Martha’s Vine­yard, Mas­sachusetts; Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush de­com­pressed at his ranch in tiny Craw­ford, Texas; and Ron­ald Rea­gan cher­ished time spent rid­ing horses at his ranch in the moun­tains of Cal­i­for­nia.

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